It’s a place that shouldn’t exist in Los Angeles County but does. Mentryville, the faded oil boom town nestled in the hills about four miles east of the 5 freeway in Newhall, sits at the end of Pico Canyon Road. The road through town has been blocked off since a flood assaulted Mentryville in 2003. There’s a barn, a 13-room mansion, and a dilapidated schoolhouse encrusted with weeds and surrounded by the rusting hulks of heavy machinery. The 800 surrounding acres, now owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, are crisscrossed by 10 miles of hiking trails and the endless buzzing of bees from some faraway hive. Not strictly a ghost town in the sense that there are literal ghosts present — a caretaker and his family reside on the premises and the kids look rather puzzled at the concept of pizza delivery this far out — Mentryville remains a glory unto itself. It’s a cobwebbed, gracefully decaying glory, but that’s what always made ghosts so inescapably tragic: an end that never seems to come, no matter how much everything fades. 27201 Pico Canyon Road, Newhall. —David Cotner

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